The Middling Sorts
Explorations in the History of the American Middle Class
According to their national myth, all Americans are "middle class," but rarely has such a widely-used term been so poorly defined. These fascinating essays provide much-needed context to the subject of class in America.
Robert Johnston is Assistant Professor of History at Yale. Burton Bledstein is Professor of History at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and the author of The Culture of Professionalism.
"These compelling essays recover the history of the American middle classes by replacing rigid dichotomies and fixed categories with a much needed emphasis on multiplicity and change. Exploring how the 'middle sorts' mingled such matters as democracy and ambition, morality and consumption, entrepreneurial values and corporate ideals, the sacred and the secular, the authors also productively dismantle the boundaries between cultural, economic, and social history. The result is a volume filled with an assortment of riches." -- Joan Shelley Rubin, University of Rochester
"Scholars have for far too long derided and caricatured the American middle class. With its complex treatment of complicated people, The Middling Sorts should prove a landmark in the historical reassessment of middle-class Americans." -- Catherine McNicol Stock, Connecticut College
"This volume demonstrates the richness of the emerging field of middle-class studies and will help define its agenda." -- Journal of American History